Kidnap on the California Comet

Feiwel & Friends. (Adventures on Trains: Bk. 2). Feb. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250222930.
Gr 5 Up–Hal Beck returns for another rollicking train adventure, this time set in the United States. Hal’s uncle Nat has been asked to travel across America on the California Comet in order to cover an important press conference held by entrepreneur August Reza. Hal and Uncle Nat encounter a curious cast of characters as they board and travel the Comet. There’s Uncle Nat’s charming rival, Zola D’Ormond; August Reza and his equally eccentric daughter, Marianne; the mimic Mason and his younger sister Hadley; and shy Ryan with his boisterous, sports-obsessed father Gene. The plot kicks into high gear when Marianne is kidnapped. Can amateur detective Hal solve the mystery before they reach the end of the line? This smartly woven story is complex enough to capture the interest of young adults but written with approachable language suitable for a middle grade audience. The mystery is crafted in the vein of an Agatha Christie novel, with clues laid out for readers so they may solve the caper before detective Hal figures it out.
VERDICT A suspenseful mystery ideal for readers transitioning from middle grade to young adult titles.

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